Home / Auto / Jeep Wrangler 2019 REVIEW – UK price, specs and road test

Jeep Wrangler 2019 REVIEW – UK price, specs and road test


Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

The Wrangler would have of course, its status as a motoring icon firmly established in history both in its war-borne and in showroom forms.

Few other cars can claim to spread their influence across the worlds of fashion, as a workhorse utility vehicle vehicle and serious off-road ability like the Wrangler. Fewer still, since the demise of the Land Rover Defender.

No, why this car wouldn’t have existed is simply due to the engine under its bonnet, in this case, a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol. After all, before the recent free-fall of diesel sales (almost 30 per cent down so far in 2018 alone), that was the natural choice of a car like this.

But now, suddenly, this petrol Wrangler has returned to showrooms as an alternative to the existing 2.2-litre turbo-diesel in the range and will account for two-thirds of Wrangler sales when it arrives early next year.

Even as recently as 2015 that kind of level of petrol sales in a car like this would have been considered unthinkable.

Hard-core Jeep fans might lament the lack of the V6 engine option that US drivers also get, but the reality is that this 2.0-litre turbo-petrol boasts more grunt than the 3.6-litre V6 and almost as much power with 270bhp under the driver’s right foot.

Like the diesel, the 2.0-litre petrol also comes with just the one choice of gearbox – a new eight speed automatic with a stop-start ignition system for improved fuel economy.

Ah yes, fuel economy. Nobody buys a Wrangler expecting class-leading performance at the pumps, and that’s especially true with this petrol.

Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

While Jeep has yet to confirm official figures for this 2.0-litre engine, it’s unlikely to return much more than 28mpg average fuel economy and 230g/km emissions.

The same is true against the stopwatch, but we estimate that a 0 to 60mph time of around 8.0 seconds and a 111mph top speed aren’t likely to be that far off.

If those numbers are too scary for the health of your bank balance, then there’s also a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid coming in 2020, the first Jeep model to get this latest plug-in technology.

The idea of a hybrid Wrangler is probably enough to have many Jeep fans up in arms, but the reality is that it’s simply what the Wrangler needs to do to survive in the decades to come.

And this 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine is merely the first step in that process. Even if on paper this 2.0-litre might be more than a match for the larger V6, it’s hard not to have a few trepidations when you first press the starter button.

Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

The engine may not fire into life with a heartbeat-skipping whoosh of induction noise like the old V6, but it settles down into a quiet rhythm and quickly shows you a few surprises of its own.

As well as being quiet, the engine is very well matched to the eight-speed automatic gearbox. Little vibration comes through into the cabin and the gearchanges are smooth and it has a good turn of acceleration when you need it too, especially so mid-range such as when wanting a quick exit out of a junction or for an overtaking move.

Refinement overall is surprisingly good too. Road noise is kept under control, even on aggressive off-roading tyres and the ride quality isn’t as bad as you might expect either.

Perhaps the weakest part of the Wrangler’s armoury though is its steering which is vague and not remotely direct. The fact is that you do get used to it the more you drive, but anyone coming from a more normal car is likely to have a bit of a shock.

Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

Part of the reason for that vague steering though is the Wrangler’s sheer awesome ability off-road.

That ability to switch it between two and four-wheel drive and also into low range for serious off-roading is a rarity these days. Even more so, is the fact that there are front and rear locking differentials for when things get especially difficult.

With the Land Rover Defender long gone, there’s only the likes of the Suzuki Jimny (which is tiny) and the Mercedes G-Class (which is eye-wateringly expensive) that can compete with it.

Fair enough, many British Wrangler buyers are more likely to be interested in its looks as a fashion statement, but there is simply nothing else like it in showrooms today.

It can cope with conditions and terrains that you’d think twice about walking over let alone driving and has to be experienced to be believed.

Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

With an interior that has improved beyond all measure compared to its predecessors and a decent amount of rear space in the four-door, not even Jeep would admit that the new Wrangler is a car that will appeal to everyone.

There’s no doubt that Jeep’s iconic figurehead model is an acquired taste and several of its closest off-roading and crossover rivals will be more comfortable to drive on a daily basis.

But what those rivals can’t offer though is the sheer sense of experience and stand out from a crowd status that the Wrangler can offer in the same way as other true motoring icons such as the Citroen 2CV or the newly-refreshed Ford Mustang.

It won’t be for everyone – which ironically strengthens its appeal for us even more – and it’s certainly a car that needs to be bought with the heart rather than your head.

Either way though, Jeep has built a Wrangler for the 21st century and our love for it remains stronger than ever.

Jeep Wrangler 2019

Jeep Wrangler 2019 (Image: JEEP)

Logbook Lowdown

Model: Jeep Wrangler 2.0

On sale: January 2019

Price: from £43,995

Engine: Turbo-petrol – 2.0-litre

Power: 0 to 60mph in 8.0 seconds, 111mph top speed (est.)

Average fuel economy: 28mpg (est.)

CO2 emissions: 230g/km (est)

Rivals: Mercedes G-Class, Suzuki Jimny

Rating: 8/10



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